Summer has arrived like hell on wheels, judging from too-hot daytime temperatures registering statewide. Unless you enjoy watching the mercury boil in the low 100s, it’s high time to escape to one of Colorado’s more pleasant respites — the deliciously cool environs of the Vail Valley.
Ensconced within the White River National Forest at an elevation of 8,000 feet, the Vail Valley is celebrated equally for its world-class winter and summer recreation. It practically has it all — golf, fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, ziplining, river rafting and kayaking — all of which is spectacularly enhanced by four-star resorts, award-winning restaurants, eclectic shopping and scrapbook-worthy celebrations.
Topping our zeal for Vail is its plethora of great golf. Layouts to consider include the three courses at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera (crafted individually by Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin, plus the Dave Pelz Short Course), Sonnenalp Club (Bob Cupp/Jay Morrish), Beaver Creek Golf Club (Robert Trent Jones Jr.), Vail Golf Club (Ben Krueger), Eagle Ranch Golf Club (Arnold Palmer), Avon’s EagleVail Golf Club (Bruce Devlin/Robert Von Hagge), and Wolcott’s 36-hole Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club (Fazio and Greg Norman). If you have private club connections, secure a tee time at Eagle Springs Golf Club (Weiskopf/Morrish), Country Club of the Rockies (Nicklaus) or Frost Creek Country Club (Weiskopf).
Earning special credit is a dynamic adaptive sports program at Vail Golf Club led by Director of Golf Alice Plain. Inspired by the Avon-based Can Do MS — started in 1984 by the late Jimmy Heuga — the municipal facility offers instruction specifically designed to ignite a player’s passion for golf, and thereby fuel the person’s outlook on life.
Overnighting within the 20-mile-long Vail Valley is very much a bucket-list experience, especially if it includes an extended stay at The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch or The Sebastian-Vail, Sonnenalp Hotel or The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain.
Planning a visit that incorporates one or more of the Vail Valley’s smorgasbord of events and festivals is uber attractive, too. Highlights include the Salute the USA Fireworks Display (July 3), Triple Bypass Bicycle Tour (July 9-10), Eagle County Fair & Rodeo (July 20-23), Hot Summer Nights Free Concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (Tuesdays through Aug. 23), the 135-tent Vail Farmers’ Market (Sundays through Oct. 2), 15th Annual Beaver Creek Rodeo Series (through Aug. 11), Bravo! Vail Classical Musical Festival at the Ford Amphitheater (through Aug. 6) and the Vail Jazz Festival (through Sept. 5).
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.